Three years after a zoning application was filed, the World Bank received official permission yesterday to build a new office building on a site three blocks west of the White House.

The D.C. Zoning Commission unanimously approved plans for the structure, to occupy the block bounded by 19th, 20th, F and G Streets, NW.

The site currently is owned by George Washington University, which agreed to sell it to the World Bank if the zoning approval were granted.

Residents of the neighborhood and its Advisory Neighborhood Commission contested the proposal, and are still hoping to reduce the size of the building, according to ANC member Steve Levy.

The end of the structure facing 19th Street will be 130 feet tall, dropping to 60 feet at its 20th Street end. Trees will be planted on the lower part of the roof. Stores will be built along the F and G Street frontages.

In keeping with its normal policy, the zoning commission refused to release a draft of its official order, with officials saying it would be made available only in final form.

The commission agreed to decide next month whether the project must be reviewed further by the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment, or may proceed without such action.